CSotD: Potpourri, with only a little Popery

You’re not supposed to lead off with the sports, but, when the Supreme Court goes 9-0 on anything, that qualifies as news, and their slapdown of the NCAA is a rebuke to fat cats, which counts for something beyond sports.

Matt Davies (AMS) indeed points out the phognus-bolognus element of that high-toned shamateurism.

Here’s a snippet from the Scotusblog explanation,

The decision also flirts with the idea that the NCAA constitutes a monopoly, which might be an indication of how at least some on the Court are thinking, though I’m probably being too optimistic about that.

(BTW, Scotusblog is looking for a new blog master who is “fascinated by the Supreme Court and dedicated to producing incisive and impartial legal journalism.” Helluva gig, if you’re qualified.)


The story isn’t the only recent confluence of sports and money. After Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open because she can’t handle the mandatory press conferences, Tank McNamara (AMS) ran a story arc critical of the practice.

I’m sympathetic to Osaka’s psychological needs, but I’m also sympathetic to the fact that the huge salaries in sports are largely possible because of TV contracts, and the audience levels that justify those contracts are due to coverage in other media.

Specific to this cartoon, only the quarterback of an NFL team faces the press after each game, with one or two other players being trotted out, but, when you play an individual sport like tennis, you’re it. That’s a second game you have to play to help bring in the big bucks.

Which brings us to college sports, where millions of dollars go to the schools and to the NCAA but not (officially) to the enserfed people who put their bodies on the line.

My vicarious experience was that, 40-some years ago, while I know there were times when some fan-boy alum slipped a generous tip to a star athlete, Notre Dame (as well as the service academies and most of the Atlantic Coast Conference) ran a fairly clean program. One of my friends on the basketball team was appalled when he went to law school at another university and witnessed the blatancy with which the undergrad athletes he worked out with collected payoffs.

I later did some research for an article on recruiting at different sized schools, and came away similarly unimpressed not so much with the ethics I discovered as with the lack of subtlety.

Though it did lead to one of my more amusing journalistic workarounds, since my editor at the Denver Post wouldn’t let me simply call the University of Colorado’s athletic director a liar:

The bottom line, however, is this: When somebody complains about overpaid athletes, the answer is “How many people pay to watch you do your job?”

Professional athletes get a cut of the cake, and it’s only fair for college athletes to benefit from the wealth they generate.


Which brings us to Clay Bennet (CTFP)‘s take on the communion controversy, which I’m pretty much done talking about, except that I like the fact that he lays it squarely at the door of the USCCB where it belongs.

The connection being that, while people who complain about overpaid athletes are simply whiners, the current outpouring of self-righteous anti-religion posturing on social media isn’t simply whining. It’s bigotry, and should be seen as such.

The bishops not only don’t represent the views of most Catholics, but they’re even in conflict with the views of the Pope on this matter.

Bennett frames the issue properly and fairly, with a nice nod towards the intolerance of a group which, as others have noted, obsesses over one sin while apparently tolerating any number of others.

In fact, I got a kick out a quote in an NPR article on the brouhaha, in which Bishop Liam Cary said “We’ve never had a situation like this where the executive is a Catholic president opposed to the teaching of the church.”

I’m sure Marilyn Monroe and Judith Exner would appreciate his exoneration.


Shifting to another topic that I think we’ve heard enough about, Paul Berge has a terrific collection of editorial cartoons that weren’t worthy of a Pulitzer back in 1973, the last time the arbiters of journalism failed to smile upon the category.

I continue to not give a damn about plaques and prizes, though the cash award that comes with a Pulitzer is nice in these hard times.

But this Jules Feiffer piece among Berge’s examples brought me back to one of the best lectures I’ve ever been to, a roundtable with Feiffer, Jeff Danziger, Ed Koren and Edward Sorel, or, as Richard Thompson noted at the time, “Some of the Gods, all in one room (most of them, even).”

After you peruse Berge’s collection, go check that out.


Ed Hall apparently drew this cartoon as a bit of local commentary but then decided the topic deserved wider discussion and offered it to his client papers.

As it happens, I was listening to a discussion of housing and development on NPR yesterday and, while I’m aware of the ridiculous pricing crisis in existing homes, and fully in favor of new construction of affordable housing, the reporter being interviewed kept using the term NIMBY (“Not in my backyard”) as if everyone who objects to new construction is simply being selfish.

My neighbors, in our mostly-single-family neighborhood of 100-year-old homes, recently pushed back against an apartment complex proposed for the edge of our zone, not because we didn’t want new housing in the area but because it was going to be five stories high. We got it talked down to three, and, by the way, we rallied with equal fervor to support converting the six-unit apartment house next door into housing for developmentally disabled adults.

It’s perfectly reasonable to favor sensible development rather than greed.

In this case, Hall’s cartoon addresses the issue of open space.

Parks may seem like a luxury, but they simply are not. They are a tangible benefit to neighborhoods, and to entire cities, that goes far beyond aesthetics, as Jacob Riis noted nearly 125 years ago:

Open space is not NIMBYism. It’s good public policy and always has been.


5 thoughts on “CSotD: Potpourri, with only a little Popery

  1. Thanks for the link!

    I was trying to recall whether Jules Feiffer would still have been considered an altie cartoonist in 1972, and decided probably not. The Chicago Sun Times ran him in those days, but in the Sunday feature magazine, not the editorial page. He was well-established enough that he’d show up in Time and Newsweek.

    When the Pulitzerians did give him their award in 1986, he was not one of the three finalists.

  2. A big issue with parks is that the public only has to nod once and they’re replaced with a McHive. And you very rarely see a development replaced with a park because suddenly there are people living there. People that don’t have a park.

  3. Well, about thirty or forty years ago the city of St. Paul did tear down a virtually-empty (one grubby thrift store and one cheap furniture store were the only tenants at the end) small shopping center to build a swamp. . . (O.K., “wetlands,” but “a swamp” is funnier.) Also funny is that it was the “Phalen Shopping Center” (named after Phalen Boulevard), and it was indeed “failin’ .”).

  4. It’s hard, and ultimately futile, to point out a best cartoon for Mr. Feiffer, but this one gives an incredible kick in the conscience. What mastery.

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